Straight out of a vivid indie-rock/emo daydream, Swedish alternative outfit Tribe Friday are the up-and-coming artist you need to keep on your radar. Today they’re sharing their brand-new video for “drugs x boys x drugs” and an in-depth look into the making of the track and visuals exclusively with AltPress.
By blending emo nostalgia via My Chemical Romance influences with modern rock riffs inspired by icons such as the Strokes, along with their own raging distortion, you arrive at the genre known as “Swedish bubblegum emo.”
Lead vocalist Noah Deutschmann, guitarist Isak Gunnarsson and bassist Robin Hanberger Pérez already have an impressive resume. Despite their first EP, Trying Your Luck, being released in 2019, it was followed up by several singles as well as their dance-fueled 2020 releases, Chasing Pictures and Waiting For A Sign. Each Tribe Friday track is perfect for listeners who want to let loose and vent their frustrations along with the band’s raw lyrics and urgent garage-rock-inspired instrumentals.
“Since Bandsintown is based in L.A. and we’re in Sweden, showtime was at 3 a.m. And because it was so late, we had to keep stage volume at an absolute minimum to not disturb neighbors. Very rock ‘n’ roll, right? We used all in-ear monitors, silent drums and modeled amps for the first time ever. It was definitely a challenge,” Deutschmann shares. “Technical stuff aside, it was just really fun in general to play a proper full set during COVID. My favorite part, personally, was to do the acoustic section for the first time. And the fact that we got to properly decorate the stage for once!”
Check out the bright, colorful bubblegum emo sounds and music video for the groovy “drugs x boys x drugs” below, as well as an interview with all three members of Tribe Friday.
What themes did you really want to share when you wrote the lyrics to this track? Which lines are your favorite and why?
NOAH DEUTSCHMANN: More than anything, writing “drugs x boys x drugs” was a cathartic thing for me. I’d just started therapy for the first time in my life and, with that, was forced to process a bunch of past experiences that have molded me into the neurotic mess I am today. I wouldn’t really say the song is about any one specific event more so than just me trying to work stuff out and reveling in self-pity. Hopefully not in an “Oh look at me, I’m a tragic poet” kind of way because I consider myself very lucky and well off in life. Sometimes you just gotta vent.
ROBIN HANBERGER PÉREZ: I really like the lyrics in the second verse. They feel story-driven and real to me.
DEUTSCHMANN: Me too. My favorite line is from the second verse: “Ellen says she can’t believe it’s me, me neither/I’ve grown cold, and she’s done loads of drugs and boys and drugs.” It sums up a lot of my relationships with old friends, although ironically not with the real Ellen—she’s great. I moved out of town to pursue music at 17 while some of them stayed and suffered drug abuse and whatnot. I guess it’s strange because I know it would’ve been the same way for me if I’d stayed.
What personal experiences, if any, helped inspire the song and your creative process?
DEUTSCHMANN: I’ve already touched on this a bit, but the whole going to therapy thing was definitely what started the creative process. I’d just done my second session when all these thoughts came racing, and I ended up writing what would become “drugs” until 4-5 a.m. It just had to come out somehow, and most days I’m incapable of crying unless I make music. [Laughs.] The track was completely finished two days later. As for the sonic elements, I’d been listening to a lot [of] MCR‘s Danger Days in the week leading up to writing the song, which I think shines through a bit in the dreamy qualities of the track. I also experimented a lot with different sounds when producing, which explains some of the weirder guitar sounds, sampled drums and analog synthesizers on there. I think the quick production led to bolder decisions and less overthinking. Which was a nice change of pace, for sure.
You describe yourselves as “Swedish bubblegum emo,” which is a super-fun genre, in my opinion. Who are some of your influences that shaped your sound?
ISAK GUNNARSSON: It’s nice to have invented our own genre. We all have different influences, but I like to draw from music that sounds super noisy and/or distorted. If there are any weird or off-putting sounds in a track of ours, you can bet I’m behind them.
DEUTSCHMANN: I think our common influences, those who shape our sound the most, are the early 2000s indie-rock scene—The Strokes, etc.—paired with the theatrical emo vibes of MCR and other 2000/2010 alternative bands. We were all big emo kids growing up. These days we listen to just about anything, but the emo spirit is still there, for sure. You never go back from it, you know?
How did you create your music video? What inspired your vibrant visuals?
DEUTSCHMANN: It was a very spontaneous and DIY thing, to be honest. We were in the midst of preparing for our first big TV performance back in March when we came up with the idea of making this music video. After discussing the concept a bit, we brought in some close friends. Simon Evig, who also produced our song “get up!,” took on the role as producer, and our longtime photographer Miranda Fredriksson did most of the camera work. The rest is history, really. We shot the thing in five hours at a local photo studio, and then Simon and I pulled three to four all-nighters of him editing it together while I created the graphics and animations. Oh, and we also used this really cool fan-made lyric video by @EmoPunkArt [Erin Walker] for some of the shots. Kudos to graphic design superstar Emily Hoang for making all our logos!
As for the inspo behind the visuals, it’s all just very much us displaying what the whole bubblegum emo thing is about. We wanted to make something vibrant, colorful and energetic, something that shows who we are.
GUNNARSSON: We just wanted to make something that is 100% Tribe Friday.
What was the most memorable part about filming? What was the most challenging part of the music video process?
PÉREZ: My most memorable moment was cutting up my finger on the bass and bleeding heavily all over the set. That’s how you know you’re really giving it your all.
DEUTSCHMANN: In one of the takes, Simon pulled right up in my face just as I banged my head, resulting in his camera kicking me right in the teeth. That was a fun one.
GUNNARSSON: The most challenging thing was definitely the timeline. We only had five hours to shoot the whole thing since we were performing on TV the day after. It’s crazy that we managed to pull it together.
What can we expect from Tribe Friday next? What hopes do you have for 2021 and beyond?
DEUTSCHMANN: The ultimate goal is to be the biggest band in the world. I guess we’re working on that bit one step at a time. First and foremost, we’re planning on rolling out our debut album this year, which is extremely fucking exciting. I’ve been in the studio producing pretty much all of 2020 and can’t wait to finally show what we’ve been making to the world. You’re not ready for it.
PÉREZ: And we’re hoping to get back out on the road this year!
GUNNARSSON: Yeah, can’t wait to do some old-fashioned moshing without stream cameras present.